Renting the Runway: Designer Dresses for Events While Traveling

If you’ve read this post already, please see the exciting update at the bottom!

Here’s a major confession I’ve never revealed on this blog before… I don’t own every dress I wear to events.  I’ve been renting the runway.

There are some I wish I did own, but they are completely out of my price range.  And ensuring your dress is pristine by the time you make it to your event can be a hassle.

So I’ll order a dress from and have it sent directly to where I’m going.  They’re having a great sale right now, which I’ll mention in a little.  But first, here are some outfits I confess are not actually mine.  I was… *dramatic music*… renting the runway.

Renting the runway
A Nicole Miller dress I lusted after for months after I wore it. But the retail price? $440
Renting the runway
A Diane von Furstenberg dress, retail price: $345. Fancy hat not included.
Renting the runway
An Anna Sui dress, retail price of $389. Warning, does not prevent being tickled while photos are being taken.

The basically gist, according to their site, is:

1.  You get two sizes for the same price as one so you can find what fit works best for you.

2. You can rent a “back up dress” for $25 in case you do not like it.  The Anna Sui dress above was my back up dress for an event I went to.  The first dress I selected poofed out at “the waist,” but since I’m so high-waisted, it poofed out at my hips!  Yikes!

3. This is my favorite–you can search photos of people who rented the dress before, look at their proportions, measurements, and bra size to see what the dress might look like on you.  This feature is newer and was not available when I had the mishap with the poofy dress.  I think I would have avoided it if I could see it on someone with my shape.

Here’s an example of that:

Renting the Runway -- Kate Spade

This Kate Spade dress looks great–but would it look great on me?  Let me check some reviews / sizes out.

Renting the Runway -- Kate Spade

Kate Spade Dress 3

I just really love seeing the pictures because a review lets me know how they think it fit, but I can see if I like the way it looks too.The reason I mention this today is because they have an amazing sale going on this summer.  You can get three outfits with rental costs up to $200 plus accessories, shipping, and insurance for $75 each.  You have to buy it ahead of time for $225, but it is worth if you were thinking about renting a dress that was $200 anyway.  It’s like getting two outfits free at that point, plus you do not have to pay shipping charges.And yes, renting a dress for $200 is crazy expensive, but it can be worth it for black tie events where you’ll be running around like crazy trying to find a dress (and end up buying an expensive one in the end out of sheer need to have a dress).  Most of my rentals are around $75, but I do have a $200 rental I’ve been eying for something.  This makes it VERY affordable with other events I may need dresses for.

I’m not going to post what that dress is, just because I don’t like “giving away” what my outfits will be, but I’ll post it after I wear it.  But here’s a gorgeous $200 rental that isn’t it:

Renting the Runway

If you use my link to sign up, you get $20 credit to the site after your first rental–which can go a long way towards one of the cheaper rentals or cover an entire accessory.  In full disclosure, I’ll also get the same credit after your first rental, which is their system of normal referring.  We reached out to them to ask if we can give you something else upfront instead, but never heard back–and will update you if we do.

UPDATE: Readers are reporting getting $25 credit for immediate use upon sign up through my link.  I have no idea why, but it is working!  I tried it myself.  But this is new.  The Terms and Conditions on it say “for a limited time” and each code is unique to the sign up account.   I don’t know why or how or for how long, but this is MUCH better than $20 credit after first purchase.

$25 off first rental

terms and conditions


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. So they’ll ship it to you anywhere in the U.S.? Have you had any hassles with them shipping it to you at a hotel? Do they send two sizes of the “back-up dress” as well?

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      I haven’t, but I called the hotel ahead of time to let them know it was coming and to ask what the best address is. I’ve heard of people getting charged for receiving packages at hotels, but I’ve never been charged.

      They ship it anywhere in the contiguous 48 states, not to Hawaii/Alaska/Military Addresses.

      Shipping is $9.95, but included in their summer pass special above.

      From them:

      Can you deliver to a hotel or another address besides my home?
      Yes! If you’re shipping to a hotel, please put the hotel name in the company field and the reservation guest as the attention. Please make sure the hotel concierge is expecting your delivery.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      You get two sizes of the original dress, but only one of the backup. I’ve used the back up dress as a second outfit for events occurring in the same weekend if they both look great.

      • And you pick the back-up the same time as the dress? How early do you typically reserve the dresses before the event?

        • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

          Yes, I’ve done it as little as a few days before, but the earlier you reserve, the more likely they are to have the dress in stock.

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